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More U.S. Competition Stepping Forth

Published: October 19, 2009 2:38 pm ET

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Just what racing needs: more competition. There is no other way to regard the announcement that the two 'marquee games' in American lotteries, Mega Millions and Powerball, have reached an agreement in principle to cross-sell their products in all United Sates jurisdictions.

Until now, a state had one or the other, but not both. Under the new arrangement, as reported by Lottery Post, lotteries across the United States and in the U.S. Virgin Islands will be able to choose to offer their players both jackpot games through their respective retailers. The arrangement, as proposed, is expected to begin early in 2010.

Powerball is currently available in 31 states and the District of Columbia; Mega Millions in 12 states. Powerball says it reaches roughly 125 million people; Mega Millions 160 million.

If all existing jurisdictions agree, the combined pair could in effect become national lotteries. In the wings, according to Tom Shaheen, president of Powerball, a new “super lottery,” selling for $2 up to $5 -- the price not yet determined -- is being prepared for introduction by next fall.

Mega Millions, which figures in governor Jon Corzine’s New Jersey budget plans, grew by $30 million last night, meaning Friday’s jackpot will be $200 million. Although states do not have to agree on allowing the new super lottery, the threat of neighboring states doing so and drawing the first state’s players seems likely to provide incentive to join the action.

(Harness Tracks of America)

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